If there are no tears in heaven, Father God how will I cry in your arms of my sorrow?
If there is joy in heaven, Father God how will I share in your arms my brokenness?
If there is no more pain in heaven, Father God how will I let you see my love for you?
Papa, is it possible that you can come down to me and allow me to sit in your arms in my brokenness and sorrow of pain of my sins, just giving you all that I have done and be comforted by Your love.
Because to me that will be a great gift to have, to be embraced by you now while I am here on earth.
Since I am told once I get to heaven, I will not have the opportunity again to experience this mystery of the comfort in the agony of life on earth.
I sit and breathe
In and out, the sweet fragrance of your Spirit
The pureness, of the air that fills my soul with love
I wonder how my mind
Could sit in such silence
I observe, you are within me
As well as all around me
I feel distance from everything
Yet I sit in my room
I feel I am looking at you, as you study me
I am in awe and wonder of what this might mean
My thoughts are empty, no worries, no fear
I am at a state of being with no care
I notice that you are not saying anything to me
But the look you have is intent
Are you going to whisk me away?
I am listening Lord, please speak
My soul is on fire for you
I feel your touch to my forehead
I inhale more sweet purity of your spirit
The fragrance is making me weaker
I have no strength left
Take me home with you I plead
I am so aware of you
I hear you in the silence
I hear you in my soul
I hear you in the stillness of my being
I hear you say “Just Rest”
As I watched my own world tumble and crash, I had two choices to make; to go down with it or rise above and run to Jesus. I chose to run to Jesus. Built on my foundation of faith, this running was to the anchor of hope I have in Him. Hope is the second virtue of our faith. It is what anchors the soul when the hurricane hits. It is what you hang on to when everything is telling you that it is useless. It is the fundamental truth of who Jesus is. For Hope in Him allows you to speak frankly to Him about your unbearable pain or the agony of grieving the loss you are experiencing at that moment. It is trusting Him when you see no way out and are in a state of confusion.
In Hebrews 6, you will read about hope being the anchor of your soul. In my anguish, I asked the Lord direct questions and I waited for His answers. They did not come fast or easy. They were delayed and obscure, making it very difficult to navigate in these waters. Because the waves where crashing all around me all I could do was anchor down and wait. I told our Lord I didn’t understand any of this. While I waited, I began to recall readings from some of the saints and from scripture. I started to see some clarity through the storm. I even revisited the Catechism of the Catholic Church regarding the theological virtue of Hope (CC.1817-1821).
Pondering God’s creation and studying nature brings me closer to seeing God’s work within my midst. Because I was experiencing a storm I thought about hurricanes. I pictured myself on a ship and was in rough seas and I had to throw the anchor over to hold fast to ground. For in this storm I knew our Lord was near because of the peace I felt within. This brought me to think of the quiet and calm at the center, the eye of the storm. In this center, with no strength left, I just cried in His embrace. His presence, His mercy and His love was so strong that I began to have this new strength. 2nd Corinthians 12: 10 came alive in me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
I will always have storms in my life. That’s a given. Yet, I am on the bridge of hope that is between faith and charity. In this hope I will continue to praise Him and adore Him all the days of my life. No matter what storm comes, I know it is He who strengthens me.
We know Jesus loves us, but will we share the Cross with Him? When we say “Jesus, I trust in you,” what are we saying? Mainly, we are surrendering everything to God: The fate of your life, your health, your mind, and your loved ones. St. Padre Pio says to “pray, hope and don’t worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.” By embracing your daily life you are giving God the noblest gift. This gift is you’re suffering, for when you die and go to heaven there is no suffering but rejoicing. Just as the saints all talk about, the joy of suffering is more precious than gold. St. Teresa of Avila’s motto was “Lord, either let me suffer or let me die.” Our life is to love God in the sufferings. Because this love you have for Him is only shown in true suffering.
Let me explain what is and is not true suffering. When you sin you will suffer, that is justice and not true suffering. Yet, in 1 John 1:9, ‘If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing.’ Thank you Jesus!
For it to be true suffering, you first must make the commitment to follow Jesus. In Matthew 16:24, Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me”. In this conversion you will continue to suffer. This is called purging as you begin to know yourself. St. Paul shares with us in 1 Thessalonians 5:11, ‘Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up.’ As you agree to accept suffering and treasure it as a precious gift from above, this suffering becomes pleasant.
Our gift of life is to worship and love God above all else and share the gospel of the Lord. This includes suffering. In Acts 14:22, ‘We must experience many hardships before we can enter the Kingdom of God.’
When you suffer, how do you handle it? Do you call it to attention? Are you complaining about it, angry towards others, cranky or possibly in a bad mood?
Or do you keep it in like Mother Mary who would ponder it. By pondering you’re suffering, you are having a private conversation with Jesus. In this weakened state, the Holy Spirit works more within you, purging you and preparing you for complete union with God. Therefore, this intimate relationship should not be shared with everyone. In Matthew 7:9, ‘Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.’ Ask our Lord to give you a spiritual director or if you cannot find one then someone who is devout. Make sure you share your suffering with your confessor.
For my personal experiences I found that when I was treated wrong, when I am in aches and pains, when I am sick, when I’ve had very little sleep, or confusion in my thoughts, the more I felt peace, joy and love. In this reality, I should be miserable. I asked our Lord what is this? The response I felt (for I am not sure if I hear him) was “It’s a Paradox.”
Jesus said we are going to suffer, so do not be surprised where the suffering comes from. This suffering is a great opportunity to work on your virtues and for reparation of sins. Just know that we are to live the beatitudes. As you revisit reading Matthew 5: 1-12, you will see that you are to suffer and be glad.
By resigning to your sufferings, you are completely trusting in His Sovereignty. Coming to terms with this takes courage because you are very vulnerable to Him. Let us recall what they wrote about St. Gemma in her situation of being bedridden. ‘Through her illness she was, as it were, rigid. She could raise only her head and shoulders a little. She used to say to me: "See, I am crucified; I cannot move." But nevertheless she never uttered a word of complaint. She was always jovial, smiling and peaceful. It seemed to me that she had a most extraordinary resignation.
Our Lady of Fatima asks us this Offering: “Will you offer yourselves to God and bear with submission all the sufferings He sends you in reparation for the sins that offend Him and the conversion of sinners?” (To see more of what we are asked to do go to http://www.pilgrimvirginstatue.com/booklet.)
Finally, I will leave you with My Grandma’s daily prayer:
My suffering is a small key to gold, little by little it will open a big treasure. A cross is a cross, but the Cross of Jesus, when embraced, removes all the pain. I haven’t counted the days of my pain because Jesus has touched my heart. I live moment to moment, time passes as if it was an hour. Christ told me that by looking in only one direction, life passes so quickly, just like an eve of a holiday. Death will come, and in Paradise, I will rest.
Keep your eyes on Jesus!
What is Jesus showing us? What is it that St. Paul talks about? What is endurance? The dictionary definition is “the fact or power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way.”
Looking at scripture, Jesus teaches us that if the world hates him, it will hate us as well. By trying to live a virtuous life in the modern world takes lots of courage and endurance. In these difficult times we need to be strong like soldiers. I met with someone the other day and he said to me, “Thursday was difficult but I got through it, just barely and I was happy to be smooth sailing again.” With that comment, I asked, “Do you expect life to be smooth sailing?” He replied “Yes, isn’t it suppose to be?” I said, “No, it’s in the difficulty that you utilize your virtues. If you have it easy all the time, when something bad happens or your get overwhelmed, you cannot handle it because you are not conditioned.” Again, I emphasize, you need to be like a soldier. When he thought about what I said, he recalled reading about a soldier in World War II who said it was one of the most excruciating and difficult times of his life. When the soldier came back to the states he became very successful in his dealings with others, and his career because of the training he received. Being a soldier in Christ and following Jesus, your commander in chief prepares you for the difficult life ahead. Please re-read the gospel of Matthew chapter 10.
Upon reflecting on it you see how Jesus explains your orders. This is God’s will and we need to obey it. When you are walking the narrow path, you will feel his peace within, which gives you great joy and comfort.
This is my journey of how I began to understand divine providence. I am hoping to show you how it works and to remind you that God is always within you strengthening you as your carry your cross to Calvary.
Do I deny Divine Providence working for the good of all things in these chaotic times? What am I to do in the daily situations I find myself in? I know Satan is around seeking to devour souls and that our souls are in a constant state of battle. Especially the souls who are trying to live as Jesus asked us to live. My husband says to me “It takes courage to live.” Courage is a virtue and Mother Mary is the Queen of Virtues; I will look to her for help. In other words, to overcome the vices and strongholds, we need virtues to sustain us when we face the evils of the world. We need to be strong in our virtues, like a fortress in order to help our sisters and brothers who are trapped in the circumstances in life. It takes virtues to be merciful towards them rather than baring false witness against them.
When we accept knowing that Divine Providence is always working in our life, we look to God for help. Spend time alone with Him at adoration, just sitting. It is amazing how much more you can get done.
Saint Francis of Assisi said “He who truly loves his enemy is not ashamed of the injuries his enemy provokes, but rather he suffers out of love of God due to the sin that drags the soul who offended him, and he manifests his love to his enemy with works.” The works St. Francis is referring to is the fruits of the spirit. In Galatians 5:22 In contrast the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. To respond with this we are truly doing the will of God. This is how we continue to carry the suffering for the Love of God and surprise all around us by not giving in to the chaos.
I love reading Padre Pio’s spiritual letters. He helps me so much with my spiritual journey. It so happens at the right time, I get the nourishment I need, you might even dare to say by Divine Providence. Here are some encouraging words from Padre Pio who said this, “Some interior consolations are for the infant souls. They are not signs of perfection. It is not consolations that are needed, but suffering. Aridity, listlessness, helplessness, these are the signs of real love. Suffering is pleasant. Exile is beautiful because by suffering we have something to give to God. The gift of our pain, of our suffering is a great thing, which we cannot do in Paradise.” Embrace your cross and carry it joyfully, because Jesus already won victory for us.
I am just an ordinary person who writes articles reflecting on my personal encounters with our Lord and how to help you develop a deeper spiritual life with Him. Being trained in Christian Healing Ministry and Order of St. Luke’s, I followed Mother Mary to Lourdes who showed me how "She" wants me to continue spreading encouragement, hope and joy. Pax in Christ, Madie